PR agency Spong uses social data to provide critical reporting for clients and helps clients develop and build strategic plans. Spong is able to analyze conversations in real time. This advantage helped clients find key markets and influencers that elevated the brand’s profile.
Spong uses NetBase for about a dozen clients, almost the agency’s entire client roster. Cavan Regan Reichmann, Director of Social Engagement at Spong says, “For many of them we produce tracking reports that cover any interval they request, from hourly to quarterly. Other clients use social listening for strategic planning, where we pull in insights to write annual PR plans or develop a brand voice. We also give clients a Brand Passion Index report quarterly, and on a monthly basis look at conversation drivers, sentiment drivers, sources of conversation, and influencers. We put those reports on an agency template, but all the data and insights come from NetBase.”
He says the agency also uses NetBase extensively in preparing pitches to prospective clients. “We do a lot of social research when we’re learning about a new category or a new competitive set or even just a set of conversation drivers that are key to whatever industry we’re researching. Topics, brands, and categories—we look at them all through the lens of social.”
One of the most important use cases for the agency is crisis communications. For clients in home brands and food and beverage, Reagan Reichmann says Spong uses NetBase to monitor the online conversation around developing issues and come up with a plan based on where the conversations are and where they seem to be heading.
The Spong social engagement team and the agency’s social analytics offerings have grown rapidly over the past two years, says Reagan Reichmann, and he credits NetBase as a major driver of that growth. The agency offers a branded social analytics capability called Spong Social Tracker, which is based on NetBase and adds data from other sources, including marketing, email and digital channels.
Reagan Reichmann describes how teams at Spong incorporate Social Tracker into their workflow as they develop content and social strategies for clients. “The social strategy team does research to develop brand strategy and targeting information for our clients or prospects,” he says. “To do that, they’ll analyze trends in social and digital, looking for conversations, sites, and behaviors that really pop with a specific demographic. NetBase surfaces those things, and the team can see if there are opportunities or insights there.”
At that stage, he says, “the social engagement team gets involved and develops an overall content strategy or a social strategy, based on research the strategy team has done. What we’re doing is using NetBase to figure out who the audience is, what we can say to them about the brand, where we should talk to them, and how we may want to shift the conversation. Once we implement the strategy, we use the tracker to analyze the conversation on an ongoing basis to track and optimize campaigns.”
For a food client, Spong used NetBase to analyze the conversation around the company’s offerings and discovered lots of organic buzz and passion for the company’s gluten-free products. At that time, those products were not a focus of the company’s marketing. Spong developed a plan for the company to engage and expand that conversation, thereby creating greater awareness and raising the profile for the brand’s gluten-free products.
For its client Thermos, a manufacturer of insulated food and beverage containers, Spong used NetBase’s social monitoring capabilities to find an opportunity to build a relationship with a key influencer. Mark Hoppus, bassist and vocalist for the pop-punk band blink-182, has more than 2.6 million Twitter followers. He tweeted and posted a Vine video about his Thermos named Nicolas, but he wasn’t tagging the brand. Through organic outreach, Spong began chatting with Mark, which led him to post several photos of Thermos products. Mark retweeted a Thermos tweet when the brand launched #ThermosThursday, getting the campaign in front of his millions of followers.
The social interactions Spong initiated led to a full partnership with Mark, including the launch of a Hi My Name Is Mark Genuine Thermos Brand limited edition bottle and giveaways on his Twitter channels and the Thermos Facebook page.
NetBase has given us a way, which didn’t exist that long ago, to analyze and get insights into the social conversation. That ties into our mission as a PR agency, which is helping us shift the public conversation and sentiment around topics on behalf of our clients.
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